About 5.5 million Texans rely on the Trinity River for their water needs. Taking care of the Trinity River and its watershed is a huge job -- a job that is too big for any one group to tackle alone. Fortunately, though, in the world of conservation, partnerships flourish as vigorously as well managed habitat.

Today, restoration of the Trinity River Basin rests in the expert hands of a broad consortium of agencies and organizations, including the Trinity Basin Conservation Foundation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA).

“Effective conservation takes expertise, time, labor and money,” TWA President Randy Rehmann said. “It just makes sense for individuals, organizations and agencies to work together, making the most of what each of us has to offer and benefiting Texas’ natural resources.”

In the case of the Trinity River Basin, more than 55 percent of the total land base is open space land that is managed through the voluntary stewardship of private landowners. TWA was a natural partner.

“TWA was created to support voluntary stewardship on private lands,” Rehmann said. “For the past several years, we’ve been busy educating the state’s leaders about the vital role that land stewardship plays in the quality and quantity of water available in Texas. The Trinity River Initiative is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the interconnectedness not only of land and water, but of the state’s conservation community. With our education programs and our grassroots connection to private landowners, TWA was a natural partner for the project.”

Each member of the consortium has contributed to the initiative’s success. For instance, a newsletter has been established, 10 publications highlighting the basin’s unique ecosystems have been completed, media attention has been generated, more than $40,000 worth of restoration grants have been secured and two Rainwater Harvesting Regional Trainings have been conducted. TWA is reaching the next generation of land stewards through this partnership effort.

Working with the Trinity Basin Conservation Foundation, TWA created and implemented a Trinity Basin version of its Learning Across New Dimensions in Science (LANDS) Curriculum. In the pilot program, fourth grade students from throughout the region participated in three hands-on field experiences in which they learned about water quality, riparian ecosystems, wildlife management and voluntary land stewardship.

“No matter how successfully this partnership restores and conserves the Trinity Basin, our efforts will be for naught if we don’t teach the next generation how to take care of the land and the water,” Rehmann said. “Through TWA’s LANDS Curriculum, we’re making a difference today that will shape our world for tomorrow.”

Additional Information: The Texas Wildlife Association was founded in 1985 to support voluntary stewardship on private lands, using three means: Conservation Legacy (conservation education), Hunting Heritage, and Advocacy. Today, TWA members care for and control almost 40 million acres of rangeland and wildlife habitat that are key components of Texas’ ecosystem, providing wildlife habitat, aquifer recharge, flood control, carbon sequestration and many other environmental benefits. For more information about TWA, please visit: www.texas-wildlife.org .